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O-Zone: Chances are

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

John from Jacksonville

Why are we treating many key injuries with our offense players as "deaths?" If I recall correctly, our offense had lots of promise during the first quarter of the season (3-1). If we get most of them healthy for the beginning of next season, along with Blake who was doing well with that group and our offensive line, why do we need to bury all the bodies now and move on? Unlike our long stretch of poor seasons, this season was simply an outlier and we'll be fine next season.

There’s truth in what you say; while many believe the Jaguars’ offense has been inept throughout the past past two seasons, the reality is the unit was ranked sixth in the NFL in total yards in 2017 and ninth through five games in 2018. Still, while the offense unquestionably was better than many believe this season before injuries became too much to overcome, it was not consistent enough – and it was certainly not built to come from behind. It had trouble – a lot of trouble – throwing when opponents knew it had to throw. A lot of that was quarterback Blake Bortles, and a lot was the offensive line and receivers. That was really the fatal flaw offensively last season – that when the Jaguars had to throw to win, they typically could not. That’s what must be fixed, and that’s why some bodies must be buried. And because sometimes you have to move on.

Greg from Satsuma

Could making changes on their strength-and-conditioning program help with the injuries? Never seen so many injuries in one year for the Jags.

Probably not. I have.

Fred from Naples, FL

You and the readers keep mentioning the Steelers and Packers as models of continuity and stability in terms of coaching. It is called Roethlisberger and Rodgers/Favre. Just find the franchise quarterback Jaguars and you will also have continuity and stability.

You’re correct that the Green Bay Packers’ leadership stability is based largely upon a corresponding stability and success at quarterback. You’re less correct that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ stability is quarterback-centric; their organizational philosophy and patience with head coaches through short-term struggles predated quarterback Ben Roethlisberger by decades. Still, you’re overriding point is a good one: Success must accompany stability, and both are difficult to sustain without a long-term, reliable quarterback.

Sunil from Jacksonville

John, the fans have a right to be disappointed, frustrated and mad at the Jaguars – in particular, Owner Shad Khan. When he bought this team, he held up a ticket and said he wanted this to be the "Golden Ticket and the hottest ticket in town." And if the losing continued for us to "hold him accountable." He has not produced a respectable football team that this city can be proud of. The taxpayers paid for half of his amphitheater, scoreboards and club seat renovations. The fans have bought tickets, we have endured losing a marquee game every year to London – and we get nothing … NOTHING in return other than a statement about status quo. This is just the worst season in team history and I don't see it getting better any time soon. Are we frustrated? Yes, we are. Do we have to keep buying tickets for fear that President Mark Lamping and Khan will tell us that we are small potatoes compared to other cities in the league? Yes. Will the team be one we can be proud of next year? Probably not. #DTWD ... yep ... #DTWD

I understand your frustration, but it’s a bit unfair to paint Khan as having done nothing since he became owner. He has spent big in free agency and remember: from his perspective, the leadership trio that he opted to retain did get this team to within a game of the Super Bowl following the 2017 season. I understand there has been more good than bad in his tenure, but just because the season was disappointing – and just because changes some fans wanted didn’t get made – doesn’t mean Khan’s not trying to win.

Emiel from Texas

One for Blake. If he doesn't put on the teal and black again, I wish him the best. I'll always root for the BOAT.

Hey, one fer the BOAT – and you’re not alone in your feelings.

Tom from Charleston, SC

You have spent most of this season and now in to the offseason leaning on injuries as an excuse and justification for keeping the "brain trust." If that is indeed the case, why are so many assistant coaches being fired? They had no more control over the injuries than Dave, Doug and Tom.

I spent this season doing what I always do in this forum – answering questions as honestly as possible. I’ve long since learned that some people sometimes don’t like the answers. Go figure. What I have done this season when it comes to injuries is point out that they matter, and that the Jaguars had many of them. I also pointed out that it stands to reason that Khan agreed with that to a point when he decided to keep Head Coach Doug Marrone, Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin and General Manager David Caldwell. As far as why assistants weren’t retained, the best answer I can give is this: media and fans often aren’t privy to what management and a head coach expect from a position or a coach. It’s a gray area that’s hard to define, and moves often don’t make sense on the surface. I’m a believer that a lot of NFL coaching change is musical-chairs stuff and that stability is the better option if all else is equal. In this case, Marrone and the Jaguars clearly wanted something different at running back, offensive line, defensive line and secondary. Does it always make sense? No, but that’s coaching in the NFL.

Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

John, in your opinion why was Caldwell retained in light of his less than stellar record in past drafts?

There’s not going to be a satisfying answer to this for many people, because many people remain convinced Caldwell is a problem. But the reasons Khan and Coughlin retained him are many-fold. Because while Caldwell’s first-round selections have been less-than-stellar, his later-round selections have been better. And because the moves he and Coughlin made the season before got the Jaguars to within minutes of the Super Bowl. And because the decisions the last two seasons have been Coughlin/Caldwell decisions – not Caldwell decisions. And because Khan wanted continuity.

Steve from Nashville, TN

"and saddened this time of year when so many head coaches are fired " John, you should feel sad for the homeless and sick not for the millionaire head coaches who will find another job in the coaching ranks and should be able to cover their bills and living expenses.

I tend not to try to tell people how they should feel – mainly because doing so sometimes comes off as sort of arrogant. It’s also obvious that homelessness is a bigger issue and sadder than a coaching change, but I probably won’t take this forum to emphasize the point. And while you’re right that head coaches typically make enough to withstand job losses, the same is not as true of assistants. Besides

Nick from Annapolis, MD

Seeing Edgerrin James as a finalist for the hall of fame over Fred Taylor seems pretty silly to me.

Why? James had seven 1,000-yard seasons, four 1,500-yard rushing seasons, scored 91 touchdowns, played in the postseason six times, averaged more than 100 yards a game offense for his career, had 12,246 yards rushing and twice won the NFL rushing title. Taylor had seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons, one 1,500-yard rushing season, scored 84 touchdowns, played in the postseason four times, averaged a touch under 85 yards offense for his career, had 11,695 yards rushing and never won the NFL rushing title. I would take Taylor over James. Still, given James’ career, the idea of him being a finalist over Taylor is far from silly.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

Don you think the Jags will be willing to pony up to get to that No. 1 pick and get their guy at quarterback?

If they believe strongly enough in him, yes.

Rob from Pittsburgh, PA

John. I think this is the year for former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli get in the Hall of Fame. What do you think of his chances this year? I think the Jaguars should hire him to coach the offensive line or scout offensive line.

I think Boselli’s chances are good to get in the Hall in this season. I thought they were better last season than the year before, and I think they’re better this season than the last two. There are 15 finalists, and I would say Boselli is along probably eight or nine with a realistic chance. Remember: Every one of the 15 finalists is very deserving. Only five get in.

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